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Macedonian Press Agency: News in English, 99-02-16

Macedonian Press Agency: News in English Directory - Previous Article - Next Article

From: The Macedonian Press Agency at http://www.mpa.gr and http://www.hri.org/MPA.


MACEDONIAN PRESS AGENCY NEWS IN ENGLISH
Thessaloniki, February 16, 1999

SECTIONS

  • [A] NATIONAL NEWS
  • [B] INTERNATIONAL NEWS

  • NEWS HEADLINES

    [A] NATIONAL NEWS

  • [01] THE GREEK GOVERNMENT HANDLED THE OCALAN AFFAIR PRUDENTLY AND RESPONSIBLY
  • [02] THE EXILED KURDISH PARLIAMENT PRESIDENT CALLED FOR THE WITHDRAWAL OF THE KURDS OCCUPYING THE GREEK EMBASSIES AND CONSULATES
  • [03] OCALAN WAS ABDUCTED BY TURKISH AGENTS
  • [04] THE OCALAN AFFAIR TURNS INTO A THRILLER
  • [05] TERRORIST OPERATIONS BY KURDS IN 10 GREEK EMBASSIES AND CONSULATES
  • [06] PANGALOS: THE GREEK POSITIONS ARE BEING VINDICATED BY THE DEVELOPMENTS
  • [07] THE FOREIGN MINISTER OF KENYA ISSUED CLARIFICATIONS ON THE OCALAN AFFAIR
  • [08] STATEMENTS MADE BY THE NEW DEMOCRACY SPOKESMAN ON THE OCALAN AFFAIR
  • [09] STATEMENTS BY A KURDISH SPOKESMAN ON THE OCALAN SEIZURE BY TURKISH AGENTS
  • [10] THE PENTAGON CRISIS HANDLING GROUP MEETS TO DEAL WITH THE SITUATION
  • [11] GREECE'S NEW MILITARY CHIEF OF STAFF IS GEN. PARAGIOUDAKIS INTERNATIONAL NEWS
  • [12] THE ISRAELI FOREIGN MINISTRY DENIED INFORMATION OVER THE ALLEGED INVOLVEMENT OF ISRAEL IN THE OCALAN ARREST
  • [13] OCALAN WAS TAKEN TO IMRALI ISLAND
  • [14] THE KURDS ISSUED A FIVE-POINT PACKAGE OF DEMANDS
  • [15] PKK CALLS ON THE KURDISH PEOPLE TO EXERCISE VIGILANCE
  • [16] PRESIDENT STEPHANOPOULOS' STATEMENT ON THE OCALAN AFFAIR
  • [17] GREECE RECALLS ITS ENVOY FROM KENYA
  • [18] PRESIDENT OF GREECE DEPARTS FROM AUSTRIA TOMORROW
  • [19] US CONGRESSMEN TO VISIT GREECE ON THURSDAY

  • NEWS IN DETAIL

    [A] NATIONAL NEWS

    [01] THE GREEK GOVERNMENT HANDLED THE OCALAN AFFAIR PRUDENTLY AND RESPONSIBLY

    The Greek government handled the Ocalan affair prudently and responsibly in order to protect the interests of the country and made the right choices aimed at avoiding to create further risks for Ocalan, stated Greek government spokesman Dimitris Reppas, who condemned the occupation Greek embassies and consulates around the world by Kurds. Mr. Reppas said that such actions are hostile actions against Greece.

    The Greek government spokesman stated that the fact that the plan of the Kurds to occupy Greek embassies and consulates was not handled in time is an issue concerning the governments and the responsible authorities of each country that have the responsibility to protect the foreign diplomatic missions.

    The government spokesman announced that Ocalan's request to stay in Greece could not be accepted under any circumstance but the Greek government had offered him shelter in Kenya for humanitarian reasons. He said that he was absolutely safe there but his decision to move to another country in consultation with the Kenyan authorities was unfortunate. Mr. Reppas stated that the Greek government has no responsibility whatsoever and announced that Athens almost persuaded certain African states to allow Ocalan to move to their territory. Mr. Reppas said that this plan was not implemented and added that it was the choice of Ocalan himself.

    The Greek government spokesman made it clear that the Kurdish problem is an international problem and must be resolved with political, diplomatic and peaceful means and can not be turned into a Greek-Turkish problem.

    [02] THE EXILED KURDISH PARLIAMENT PRESIDENT CALLED FOR THE WITHDRAWAL OF THE KURDS OCCUPYING THE GREEK EMBASSIES AND CONSULATES

    The exiled Kurdish Parliament president Yassar Kaya in a press conference he gave in Athens, called on the Kurds, who have occupied the Greek embassies and consulates around the world, to withdraw and free the hostages they are holding.

    He said to reporters that the occupiers do not know exactly what goes on and pointed out that it is not possible to control all those who have resorted to such actions, while he attributed the embassy and the consulate occupations to the wish of the Kurds to find out the whereabouts of their leader.

    The representative of the Kurds did not determine what will be their next reactions. Governing socialist party of PASOK parliament deputies Stelios Papathemelis and Kostas Badouvas were present in the press conference. Mr. Papathemelis spoke of "stupid and idiotic handling" and stated that it will be the biggest shame in the modern Greek history if Ocalan is in the hands of the Turkish authorities.

    [03] OCALAN WAS ABDUCTED BY TURKISH AGENTS

    Kurdish leader Abdullah Ocalan is in the hands of the Turkish secret services after a movie-like abduction from Kenya where he was staying at a Greek house.

    The arrest of Ocalan was announced by Turkish prime minister Bulent Ecevit avoiding to give more details. The Turkish prime minister characterized Ocalan's arrest as a success of the Turkish secret service, MIT, stressing that the operation was made possible with top secrecy and with the coordinated moves of the secret services.

    The Kurdish leader had expressed the wish last night to go to The Hague to request political asylum from the Dutch government. Ignoring the advise of the Greek ambassador to Nairobi, Ocalan insisted in his request and in cooperation with the authorities of Kenya a convoy was organized to bring him to the airport. However, on the way to the airport his car changed course and moved toward an unknown destination. At 3 o'clock in the early morning hours of today, he was brought to Istanbul accompanied by Turkish agents on board a private plane and from there he was taken to Ankara.

    [04] THE OCALAN AFFAIR TURNS INTO A THRILLER

    The Ocalan affair has turned into a thriller. According to foreign minister Theodoros Pangalos the Greek government for humanitarian reasons had agreed to host Ocalan in a Greek house in Kenya for a period of 12 days.

    Yesterday evening, Ocalan announced to the Greek ambassador in Nairobi that he intends to go to The Hague to request asylum from the Dutch government. In spite of Greece's advises to the opposite, Ocalan insisted in his views and a convoy was organized to bring him to the Nairobi Airport. During the short trip to the airport the car with the Kurdish leader changed its course and disappeared to an unknown destination.

    The Greek government has no information on the fate of Ocalan and asked for official information from the foreign ministry of Kenya. Also, the Greek government has briefed the EU president on the issue while at the same time has asked the US government for relevant information.

    [05] TERRORIST OPERATIONS BY KURDS IN 10 GREEK EMBASSIES AND CONSULATES

    Tragic events were caused by small groups of Kurds in many European countries. Kurds forcefully occupied the Greek embassies in Bonn, London, Vienna, Brussels and The Hague as well as the consulates of Greece in Hanover, Berlin, Dusseldorf, Frankfurt and Stuttgard.

    In Vienna, Greek ambassador Mr. Gennimatas is being held by the Kurds, while in The Hague armed Kurds hold hostages the wife and the 8yearold child of Greece's ambassador to Holland Mr. Angelakis. The small boy is being threatened with hand grenades.

    Foreign minister Theodoros Pangalos condemned those actions as acts of extreme brutality and called on the PKK leadership to order its members to leave the Greek embassy and consulate grounds they have occupied around the world as they regarded Greek territory. Mr. Pangalos gave them until 12 at noon today warning them that the Greek government prepares a plan aimed at dealing with this organization and its leadership.

    [06] PANGALOS: THE GREEK POSITIONS ARE BEING VINDICATED BY THE DEVELOPMENTS

    The developments concerning the Kurdish leader Abdullah Ocalan as well as the occupations of 10 Greek embassies and consulates justify the prudent and according to the international principles behavior of the Greek government and constitute a big lesson for all those who exploit patriotism in a systematic way for their own personal benefits.

    The statement was made by foreign minister Theodoros Pangalos in the press conference he gave this morning saying that the events underway give an overwhelming response to all those who tried to make Greece part of the Kurdish problem. "The events give an overwhelming response to all those wherever they are as they clearly prove that Greece should not have become a part of this conflict which concerns us as human beings and as members of the world community but it was not and should not become our affair", said Mr. Pangalos.

    Mr. Pangalos said that Greece is against the separatist movements, the armed revolts and the acts of violence and terrorism but it supports the protection of minorities, human rights and democratic freedoms. He said that those are the principles Greece has always implemented in the case of the Kurdish problem which Athens has repeatedly brought before the international community but unfortunately our interlocutors did not assume their responsibilities.

    On Ocalan's move after he left Syria the Greek position was that his presence on Greek territory would not have been useful to the struggle of the Kurdish people and the recognition of its rights, while it could also hurt the safety, stability and peace in the region. The transformation of the Kurdish problem, which is an international problem of human rights and an internal problem of Turkey, into a Greek-Turkish dispute would have only benefited the enemies of the Kurdish people and democracy, said the Greek foreign minister.

    On the asylum request by Ocalan, Mr. Pangalos said that based on articles 7, 8 and 11 of the 1996/1991 law which regulates the free movement in the EU, every subsequent asylum request made is referred to the country that received the initial asylum request. Mr. Pangalos said that even if Ocalan has filed such an application it was the obligation of the Greek government, based on the Greek law and the international agreements, to send this application to Italy to be examined with the initial application that was submitted to this country.

    After Ocalan's failed attempt to go to Holland, Greece faced the humanitarian obligation to allow his airplane to land on Greek territory for refueling but Greece stated to him that he is not welcomed and allowed the plane to depart for Kenya. Ocalan, said Mr. Pangalos, stayed in Kenya for 12 days and Greece offered him a place to stay for humanitarian reasons.

    [07] THE FOREIGN MINISTER OF KENYA ISSUED CLARIFICATIONS ON THE OCALAN AFFAIR

    Kenya's foreign minister Bonaya Godana issued clarifications on the Ocalan affair at noon today. Specifically he stated that his country's authorities knew that Ocalan was in a building of the Greek embassy in Nairobi and demanded from the Greek diplomatic authorities to take Ocalan to another country. From this point on no one knows what happened, said the Kenyan foreign minister, stressing that his country did not play any role whatsoever in the developments that led to the Kurdish leader's abduction and his subsequent arrival in Turkey.

    Ocalan's Italian attorney stated at noon today that he met with his client in Nairobi on Sunday and in the meeting it was made known to him that the Kurdish leader had secured guarantees from the Greek diplomatic authorities to protect him until a country offers him political asylum.

    [08] STATEMENTS MADE BY THE NEW DEMOCRACY SPOKESMAN ON THE OCALAN AFFAIR

    Right-wing main opposition party of New Democracy spokesman Aris Spiliotopoulos condemned categorically the occupations of Greek embassies and consulates across Europe by Kurds and made an appeal to them to end them immediately.

    There is no doubt that the government handling of the Ocalan affair was not only strange but dangerous at the least, added Mr. Spiliotopoulos.

    [09] STATEMENTS BY A KURDISH SPOKESMAN ON THE OCALAN SEIZURE BY TURKISH AGENTS

    In statements he made to the mass media the spokesman of the Solidarity Committee for Kurdistan in northern Greece insinuated that there was a Greek government involvement in the abduction of Kurdish leader Abdullah Ocalan by Turkish secret agents in Kenya.

    Speaking outside the ministry of Macedonia-Thrace building, where about 20 Kurds have gathered since yesterday, their spokesman Haki Pirs associated the arrest of Abdullah Ocalan with the arrests of Kurds in Athens. He said that the statements made by foreign minister Theodoros Pangalos are not adequate and characterized as games all that happened after the Kurdish leader left Syria.

    [10] THE PENTAGON CRISIS HANDLING GROUP MEETS TO DEAL WITH THE SITUATION

    The Greek Pentagon crisis handling group holds a special meeting to deal with the situation, while separate meetings are being held to examine the information coming from the Greek embassies in Europe.

    The Greek government had a communication with German foreign minister Joshka Fischer, as Germany currently holds the rotating EU presidency. Also, it contacted the US ambassador to Athens to determine the conditions under which Ocalan's traces were lost in Kenya.

    In Athens, police have received orders to break up every Kurdish protest demonstration held in a public place.

    [11] GREECE'S NEW MILITARY CHIEF OF STAFF IS GEN. PARAGIOUDAKIS

    Greece's outgoing chief of staff Gen. Athanasios Tzoganis has handed over the command to his successor Gen. Manoussos Paragioudakis during a ceremony held today at the national defense headquarters.

    In his address, Mr. Paragioudakis stated that "our major national problems, with absurd claims by Turkey on our sovereign rights and in Cyprus, demand unity for the realization of our mission and the achievement of our common goals."

    Gen. Paragioudakis, formerly chief of the Army General Staff, was named by the Cabinet as the new head of Greece's armed forces in November.

    Gen. Tzoganis will retire with the title of honorary chief of the general staff, after having completed the longest permissible term in the post.

    INTERNATIONAL NEWS

    [12] THE ISRAELI FOREIGN MINISTRY DENIED INFORMATION OVER THE ALLEGED INVOLVEMENT OF ISRAEL IN THE OCALAN ARREST

    An Israeli foreign ministry spokesman categorically denied mass media reports alleging that Israel was involved in channeling information that led to the arrest of Kurdish PKK leader Abdullah Ocalan.

    According to a statement issued by the Israeli foreign ministry, the government of Israel denies in the most categorical way that it had any involvement in the issue.

    It should be noted that the German mass media, citing information from the western secret services circles, have mentioned that the Israeli secret service Mossad offered decisive assistance to the Turkish agents in the hunting down of the Kurdish separatist leader Ocalan.

    [13] OCALAN WAS TAKEN TO IMRALI ISLAND

    Kurdish PKK leader Abdullah Ocalan is on Imrali island, according to the Turkish private television station ATV which added that the government of Kenya with a statement it has issued points out that the Greek government knew the final destination of the Kurdish leader.

    According to the Turkish television station, Ocalan was brought to Istanbul with the private jet of Turkish politician Cavit Caglar and from there he was taken to the town of Badirma where he boarded the frigate "Zafer" that took him to Imrali island which was a place of exile in the past.

    Turkish government spokesman Sukru Gures avoided to comment on the news and stated that for the moment he can not give more details.

    [14] THE KURDS ISSUED A FIVE-POINT PACKAGE OF DEMANDS

    Greek president Kostis Stephanopoulos, who is on a formal visit to Austria, stated that the Kurds have sent a letter with a five-point package of demands which has reached him, the Austrian government and other governments as well.

    According to MPA information, this letter includes a five- point package of demands, and among others the Kurds want guarantees that Ocalan will not be harmed and also demand that the Kurds, who have occupied the Greek embassies and consulates around the world, will not be brought to justice.

    [15] PKK CALLS ON THE KURDISH PEOPLE TO EXERCISE VIGILANCE

    The Central Committee of the Kurdish Workers' Party, PKK, issued an appeal to the Kurdish people to exercise vigilance and display preparedness on the "vital and sensitive" issue that arose after the abduction of Kurdish leader Abdullah Ocalan in Nairobi by Turkish agents.

    In the statement is also mentioned that no one should undertake actions at his or her initiative and await for the briefing and call for action that will follow.

    It is underlined that the situation is unclear and dangerous and for this reason the governments of Kenya and Greece have to give the necessary explanations.

    As it is mentioned, yesterday afternoon Kenya police officers asked Ocalan, who was in the Greek embassy in Kenya, to follow them alone and did not allow to anyone of his comrades to go with him.

    [16] PRESIDENT STEPHANOPOULOS' STATEMENT ON THE OCALAN AFFAIR

    Greek president Kostis Stephanopoulos, who is on formal visit to Vienna, stated that Greece has no responsibility over the way the Ocalan affair has developed.

    Meanwhile, a group of Kurds attempted this morning to storm the Imperial Hotel where president Stephanopoulos is staying but this was averted at the last moment by police.

    For security reasons, Mr. Stephanopoulos' scheduled visit to the Greek-Orthodox church of Vienna was canceled in spite of the tight security measures that were in effect in the area.

    According to information, the Greek president will cut short his formal visit to Austria and will return to Greece tomorrow.

    [17] GREECE RECALLS ITS ENVOY FROM KENYA

    Greece's ambassador to Kenya George Kostoulas, was recalled from Nairobi by the Greek government at noon today, stated Greece's Foreign Minister Theodoros Pangalos during a parliamentary address tonight.

    Meanwhile, Kurdish protesters, some of them armed with hand grenades, continue to occupy the Greek embassies in Bonn, London, Vienna, Brussels and the Hague, and the Greek consulates in Berlin, Dusseldorf, Frankfurt and Stuttgart.

    [18] PRESIDENT OF GREECE DEPARTS FROM AUSTRIA TOMORROW

    The President of the Hellenic Republic Kostis Stephanopoulos will depart from Austria tomorrow, where he conducted an official two-day visit, the first by a Greek head of state to the Austrian capital.

    In light of the event that took place, where Kurdish protesters took over the Greek embassies in various European capitals and cities, among them Vienna, Mr. Stephanopoulos' scheduled visit to Grazt has been canceled.

    Greece's Ambassador to Vienna has been taken hostage, along with another diplomat, a clerk and three members of the embassy's staff. Austrian President Wolfgang Schussel has stated that a breakthrough could occur in the negotiations within the following hours.

    The Greek President did visit the National Library of Austria, which has the largest collection of Greek papyri and the third largest in Greek manuscripts, and the historical ethnic Greek neighborhood in Vienna, where the Orthodox Cathedral stands.

    [19] US CONGRESSMEN TO VISIT GREECE ON THURSDAY

    A 12-member delegation of U.S. Congressmen will visit Greece on Thursday, February 18, in order to meet with Greek government officials on political and economic affairs and defense and security issues.

    The delegation, led by Nebraska Republican Douglas Bereuter, is on a six-day tour of the region and, in addition to Greece, will also visit Belgium, France, Cyprus and Turkey.

    The Athens talks are expected to focus on the security situation in the eastern Mediterranean, relations between Greece and Turkey and prospects for a resolution of the Cyprus issue.


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